West Is Bed
Imperialism prevents war – interdependence, institution-building, and democracy promotion
Ikenberry 4 (G. John Ikenberry, Prof. of Geopolitics, “Illusions of Empire: Defining the New American Order” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2004)
Is the United States an empire? If so, Ferguson's liberal empire is a more persuasive portrait than is Johnson's military empire. But ultimately, the notion of empire is misleading -- and misses the distinctive aspects of the global political order that has developed around U.S. power. The United States has pursued imperial policies, especially toward weak countries in the periphery. But U.S. relations with Europe, Japan, China, and Russia cannot be described as imperial, even when "neo" or "liberal" modifies the term. The advanced democracies operate within a "security community" in which the use or threat of force is unthinkable. Their economies are deeply interwoven. Together, they form a political order built on bargains, diffuse reciprocity, and an array of intergovernmental institutions and ad hoc working relationships. This is not empire; it is a U.S.-led democratic political order that has no name or historical antecedent. To be sure, the neoconservatives in Washington have trumpeted their own imperial vision: an era of global rule organized around the bold unilateral exercise of military power, gradual disentanglement from the constraints of multilateralism, and an aggressive effort to spread freedom and democracy. But this vision is founded on illusions of U.S. power. It fails to appreciate the role of cooperation and rules in the exercise and preservation of such power. Its pursuit would strip the United States of its legitimacy as the preeminent global power and severely compromise the authority that flows from such legitimacy. Ultimately, the neoconservatives are silent on the full range of global challenges and opportunities that face the United States. And as Ferguson notes, the American public has no desire to run colonies or manage a global empire. Thus, there are limits on American imperial pretensions even in a unipolar era. Ultimately, the empire debate misses the most important international development of recent years: the long peace among great powers, which some scholars argue marks the end of great-power war. Capitalism, democracy, and nuclear weapons all help explain this peace. But so too does the unique way in which the United States has gone about the business of building an international order. The United States' success stems from the creation and extension of international institutions that have limited and legitimated U.S. power.
Boot 03 (Max, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies, “U.S. Imperialism: A Force for Good” May 13, 2003, http://www.cfr.org/iraq/us-imperialism-force-good/p5959)
While the formal empire mostly disappeared after the Second World War, the United States set out on another bout of imperialism in Germany and Japan. Oh, sorry -- that wasn't imperialism; it was "occupation." But when Americans are running foreign governments, it's a distinction without a difference. Likewise, recent "nation-building" experiments in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan are imperialism under another name.¶ Mind you, this is not meant as a condemnation. The history of American imperialism is hardly one of unadorned good doing; there have been plenty of shameful episodes, such as the mistreatment of the Indians. But, on the whole, U.S. imperialism has been the greatest force for good in the world during the past century. It has defeated the monstrous evils of communism and Nazism and lesser evils such as the Taliban and Serbian ethnic cleansing. Along the way, it has helped spread liberal institutions to countries as diverse as South Korea and Panama.¶ Yet, while generally successful as imperialists, Americans have been loath to confirm that's what they were doing. That's OK. Given the historical baggage that "imperialism" carries, there's no need for the U.S. government to embrace the term. But it should definitely embrace the practice.¶ That doesn't mean looting Iraq of its natural resources; nothing could be more destructive of the goal of building a stable government in Baghdad. It means imposing the rule of law, property rights, free speech and other guarantees, at gunpoint if need be. This will require selecting a new ruler who is committed to pluralism and then backing him or her to the hilt. Iran and other neighbouring states won't hesitate to impose their despotic views on Iraq; we shouldn't hesitate to impose our democratic views.
FERGUSON 04 (NIALL, Professor of History at Harvard University, “A World Without Power” JULY 1, 2004, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2004/07/01/a_world_without_power?page=full)
Critics of U.S. global dominance should pause and consider the alternative. If the United States retreats from its hegemonic role, who would supplant it? Not Europe, not China, not the Muslim world -- and certainly not the United Nations. Unfortunately, the alternative to a single superpower is not a multilateral utopia, but the anarchic nightmare of a new Dark Age.¶ We tend to assume that power, like nature, abhors a vacuum. In the history of world politics, it seems, someone is always the hegemon, or bidding to become it. Today, it is the United States; a century ago, it was the United Kingdom. Before that, it was France, Spain, and so on. The famed 19th-century German historian Leopold von Ranke, doyen of the study of statecraft, portrayed modern European history as an incessant struggle for mastery, in which a balance of power was possible only through recurrent conflict.¶ The influence of economics on the study of diplomacy only seems to confirm the notion that history is a competition between rival powers. In his bestselling 1987 work, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000, Yale University historian Paul Kennedy concluded that, like all past empires, the U.S. and Russian superpowers would inevitably succumb to overstretch. But their place would soon be usurped, Kennedy argued, by the rising powers of China and Japan, both still unencumbered by the dead weight of imperial military commitments.¶ In his 2001 book, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, University of Chicago political scientist John J. Mearsheimer updates Kennedy's account. Having failed to succumb to overstretch, and after surviving the German and Japanese challenges, he argues, the United States must now brace for the ascent of new rivals. "[A] rising China is the most dangerous potential threat to the United States in the early twenty-first century," contends Mearsheimer. "[T]he United States has a profound interest in seeing Chinese economic growth slow considerably in the years ahead." China is not the only threat Mearsheimer foresees. The European Union (EU) too has the potential to become "a formidable rival." ¶ Power, in other words, is not a natural monopoly; the struggle for mastery is both perennial and universal. The "unipolarity" identified by some commentators following the Soviet collapse cannot last much longer, for the simple reason that history hates a hyperpower. Sooner or later, challengers will emerge, and back we must go to a multipolar, multipower world.¶ But what if these esteemed theorists are all wrong? What if the world is actually heading for a period when there is no hegemon? What if, instead of a balance of power, there is an absence of power?¶ Such a situation is not unknown in history. Although the chroniclers of the past have long been preoccupied with the achievements of great powers -- whether civilizations, empires, or nation-states -- they have not wholly overlooked eras when power receded.¶ Unfortunately, the world's experience with power vacuums (eras of "apolarity," if you will) is hardly encouraging. Anyone who dislikes U.S. hegemony should bear in mind that, rather than a multipolar world of competing great powers, a world with no hegemon at all may be the real alternative to U.S. primacy. Apolarity could turn out to mean an anarchic new Dark Age: an era of waning empires and religious fanaticism; of endemic plunder and pillage in the world's forgotten regions; of economic stagnation and civilization's retreat into a few fortified enclaves.
Rejecting Hegemony Bad
Total rejection of hegemony increases imperialism. The plan’s reformation of leadership solves the impact
Christian REUS-SMIT IR @ Australian Nat’l ‘4 American Power and World Order p. 121-123
My preference here is to advocate a forward-leaning, prudential strategy of institutionally governed change. By `forward-leaning', I mean that the progressive realization of cosmopolitan values should be the measure of successful politics in international society. As long as gross violations of basic human rights mar global social life, we, as individuals, and the states that purport to represent us, have obligations to direct what political influence we have to the improvement of the human condition, both at home and abroad. I recommend, however, that our approach be prudent rather than imprudent. Historically, the violence of inter-state warfare and the oppression of imperial rule have been deeply corrosive of basic human rights across the globe. The institutions of international society, along with their constitutive norms, such as sovereignty, non-intervention, self-determination and limits on the use of force, have helped to reduce these corrosive forces dramatically. The incidence of inter-state wars has declined markedly, even though the number of states has multiplied, and imperialism and colonialism have moved from being core institutions of international society to practices beyond the pale. Prudence dictates, therefore, that we lean forward without losing our footing on valuable institutions and norms. This means, in effect, giving priority to institutionally governed change, working with the rules and procedures of international society rather than against them. What does this mean in practice? In general, I take it to mean two things. First, it means recognizing the principal rules of international society, and accepting the obligations they impose on actors, including oneself. These rules fall into two broad categories: procedural and substantive. The most specific procedural rules are embodied in institutions such as the United Nations Security Council, which is empowered to 'determine the existence of any threat to peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression' and the measures that will be taken 'to maintain or restore international peace and security'.28 More general, yet equally crucial, procedural rules include the cardinal principle that states are only bound by rules to which they have consented. Even customary international law, which binds states without their express consent, is based in part on the assumption of their tacit consent. The substantive rules of international society are legion, but perhaps the most important are the rules governing the use of force, both when force is permitted (jus ad bellum) and how it may be used (jus in bello). Second, working with the rules and procedures of international society also means recognizing that the principal modality of innovation and change must be communicative. That is, establishing new rules and mechanisms for achieving cosmopolitan ends and international public goods, or modifying existing ones, should be done through persuasion and negotiation, not ultimatum and coercion. A premium must be placed, therefore, on articulating the case for change, on recognizing the concerns and interests of others as legitimate, on building upon existing rules, and on seeing genuine communication as a process of give and take, not demand and take. Giving priority to institutionally governed change may seem an overly conservative strategy, but it need not be. As explained above, the established procedural and substantive rules of international society have delivered international public goods that actually further cosmopolitan ends, albeit in a partial and inadequate fashion. Eroding these rules would only lead to increases in inter-state violence and imperialism, and this would almost certainly produce a radical deterioration in the protection of basic human rights across the globe. Saying that we ought to preserve these rules is prudent, not conservative. More than this, though, we have learnt that the institutions of international society have transformative potential, even if this is only now being creatively exploited.